UVic students have voted for the UVic Students’ Society (UVSS) to sever ties with national lobby group the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS).
1,361 students voted “yes” to continued CFS membership; 3,255 students voted “no”.
Karina Sangha, who led the “No” campaign, says she’s a “little bit shocked” by the results.
“I know we all worked really hard but we definitely outnumbered throughout the vast majority of the campaign,” she said. “The representatives of the “Yes” side were out in full force and had much larger numbers than we could ever achieve… we really spread the word through our networks and via word of mouth.”
Sangha believes the “Yes” sides campaign worked to the advantage of the “No” side.
“I feel like the “Yes” side also kind of shot themselves in the foot by aggressively campaigning,” she said. “I had people who were either not going to vote or who were voting “no” just because they felt harassed and intimidated by some of the “Yes” side people.”
Voter turnout for the referendum was about 30 per cent, up from about 18 per cent in the UVSS elections in March. Sangha, who is currently a UVSS director-at-large, believes the high voter turnout is due in part to the fact that the referendum was a “simpler issue.”
“It was less political. It wasn’t people trying to sell themselves… it was more so just raising awareness about an important issue and I think people were very receptive to that. It was a very different kind of vote than what the campus sees very often.”
While Sangha says she’s excited by the results, she doesn’t believe the issue is over. She’s anticipating a lawsuit, possibly over whether or not the referendum applies to the UVSS’ membership in the CFS’ provincial component, CFS-BC.
The CFS was not immediately available for comment.
UVSS Chairperson James Coccola notes that the results are preliminary and will need to be verified by the Referendum Oversight Committee.
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